AWO names first HERO Award awardees

Written by Marine Log Staff
American Waterways HERO Award is presented by AWO

The American Waterways Operators (AWO) has announced the inaugural awardees of its newly-launched American Waterways Honor & Excellence in Rescue Operations (HERO) Award.

The awards document and recognize rescues undertaken by AWO member company employees that demonstrate selflessness, skill and bravery.

Qualifying events for the HERO award include, among others: rescuing commercial or recreational mariners; responding to a medical emergency onboard; recovering a person who has fallen overboard; responding to a person in distress while traveling to/from the boat; and other selfless service actions that reflect the safety culture of the American tugboat, towboat and barge industry.

The inaugural American Waterways HERO awardees include six vessel crews employed by three different AWO member companies:

  • The crew aboard M/V Ron Callegan, American Commercial Barge Line, for rescuing a crew member from a fall overboard near the Plaquemine, Louisiana ferry
  • The crew aboard M/V Safety Explorer, American Commercial Barge Line, for rescuing a crew member who had fallen overboard from another vessel
  • The crew working for Great Lakes Dredge and Dock, LLC who, while working on the Houston Ship Channel Project, rescued three people from the water after their boat caught fire
  • The crew aboard M/V Mary K. Cavarra, Ingram Barge Company, for rescuing a person in the water near the St. Paul City Front
  • The crew aboard M/V Michael J. Granger, Ingram Barge Company, for rescuing a distressed automobile driver who had entered the water near Paducah, Kentucky
  • The crew aboard M/V Midland, Ingram Barge Company, who responded to a health emergency on their vessel, rendering immediate care and supporting an airlift evacuation on the Illinois River

AWO President & CEO Jennifer Carpenter commented: “We are proud to recognize the inaugural recipients of the American Waterways HERO Award and we congratulate them on this achievement. These crews exemplify the purpose of our launching this award: to recognize the heroism of the men and women of America’s tugboat, towboat and barge industry, whose actions prevent harm and save lives on the water every day. We look forward to highlighting such acts of professionalism and selflessness, and at the same time learning from those efforts to continue improving safety across our industry.”

Mary McCarthy, Director of Sustainability and Corporate Responsibility, Moran Towing Corporation, and Co-Chair of the AWO Safety Leadership Advisory Panel Distracted Operations Subcommittee, commented: “We always say that our mariners are the eyes and ears of the waterways, but sometimes they’re the hands as well – first on the scene to help someone in need. The mariners that conduct rescues on the water often do so behind the scenes and humbly refer to their life-saving actions as ‘just part of the job.’ We’re excited to bring those stories to the forefront to show our mariners’ valuable contributions to communities on the water, and share learnings from them to help all of us improve as operators and responders.”

Companies wishing to nominate employees for an American Waterways HERO Award can fill out an informational form. Information submitted through the program may be shared by AWO with members and the public to support safety efforts such as lessons-learned presentations or safety trending reports, and to raise public awareness of the industry’s role in ensuring safety on America’s waterways.

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